Skip to content
About the Royal Society

Royal Society Fellow fronts new BBC 4 series

24 January 2012

Professor Richard Fortey FRS will be presenting a new three part series starting on BBC 4 tonight (24 January 2012) at 9pm . The series is entitled Survivors: Nature’s Indestructible Creatures.

It is estimated that 99 per cent of species have become extinct and there have been times when life’s hold on Earth has been so precarious, it seems it hangs on by a thread.

The series focuses on the survivors – the old-timers – whose biographies stretch back millions of years and who show us how it is possible to survive a mass extinction event, which wipes out nearly all of its neighbours. Professor Fortey, of the Natural History Museum, discovers what allows the few to carry on going – perhaps not forever, but certainly far beyond normal species-life expectancy. What makes a survivor when all around they drop like flies?
In this three part series Professor Fortey will travel across the globe to find the survivors of the most dramatic of these obstacles – the mass extinction events.

In Episode One Professor Fortey focuses on ‘The Great Dying’, a series of cataclysms over a million year period, 250 million years ago.

Professor Fortey, who is best known for his books, won the Royal Society’s Michael Faraday Prize for excellence in communicating science to UK audiences in 2006. This is his first television series.